The 2015 Washington Community College Humanities Association Conference was held on October 30-31, 2015 at Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee, WA
The value and legitimacy of compassion (and its first cousin, empathy) in the college classroom are often debated among educators today. At one time relegated to the shared definition of “walking in another’s shoes,” they are now considered subjects worthy of serious study, even in the hard sciences. Compassion is a key to social cohesion and stability. It is the study of hope for a more peaceful world. Many of us use cross-cultural reading material in our humanities courses, hoping to elicit a compassionate response from our students and facilitate understanding beyond the dominant culture of middle-class, white, and Christian.
For all our good intentions, many scholars doubt the ability of most people, students especially, to read beyond their own cultural lens. Unexamined compassion and empathy, these scholars argue, lead to solipsistic interpretations of art where we unwittingly silence the Other.
2015 WCCHA Conference Speakers
Dr. Kukk is a professor of political science/social science at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU); founding director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation; and director of the interdisciplinary Kathwari Honors Program (WCSU). He is also co-founder and CEO of InnovOwl LLC, a research and consulting firm that solves micro and macro problems through innovative education. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Boston College and his B.A. in political science from Boston University.
Dr. Kukk has worked with cities, businesses, and a wide range of educational organizations to weave compassion into the fabric of their respective living and learning communities. He has worked with Seattle’s Charter for Compassion International and is a leader in establishing universities and schools of compassion through the Charter. His forthcoming children’s and trade books are based on the idea that compassion and success are inextricably interwoven throughout all aspects of life.
Janet Lucas is Professor of English and Rhetoric at Peninsula College in beautiful Port Angeles, WA. She started college as a returning adult student after a long career waiting tables. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in English from Eastern Washington University (2003). She earned her PhD in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2011). Her dissertation Not Just a Feeling Anymore: Empathy and the Teaching of Writing was submitted for a national award. In October 2007, the Two-Year College Association (TYCA) honored her with the Lisa Ede Award for Teaching Excellence.
Janet is a scholar, poet, and essayist and taught in Guilin, China for a time. When not working, she enjoys cooking, art, reading, writing, singing in Peninsula College’s jazz choir, and spending time hanging with friends.
Olivia McIvor helps people and companies remain compassionately focused amidst rapid change. For over 25 years, McIvor has worked with hundreds of clients and spoken to thousands around the globe on building collaborative cultures, engaging and retaining the generations, wisdom transfer strategies and creating compassionate communities.
An author and corporate culture advisor, McIvor has devoted her life and career to facilitating deeper conversations about personal values, culture and leadership. She has spent a life time interviewing leaders, connecting with individuals across the globe to ensure the pulse of people’s needs and opinions remain palpable and understood. Her beliefs, wisdom and experience have helped people across North America discover practical ways to create engaged workplaces and intentional positive lives.
She is the author of three books: The Business of Kindness: Twelve Habits that Build Collaborative Cultures, Four Generations-One Workplace: Sharing in the Information Age and Turning Compassion into Action: A Movement Toward Taking Responsibility.
McIvor is an instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in the Business Department. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.